Officials Seek 'Threatened' Status for 2 Arizona Fish Species

Headwater chub | John Rinne/Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking to list two minnow species that reside in Arizona as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The agency said in a news release this month that the headwater chub and an Arizona population of the roundtail chub could be in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. Threats to the species include predation by non-native species, habitat destruction and climate change, the FWS said.

The roundtail chub, which grows to about 8 inches in length, historically has lived in the drainages of Tonto Creek and the Verde, San Carlos and Gila rivers. That fish still occupies those areas but has a smaller distribution, the service said.

The headwater chub, which can reach lengths of 9 to 14 inches, occupies pools and eddies of large streams in the upper and lower Colorado River basins. The "threatened" designation is being sought only for the Lower Colorado River Basin population, which the FWS said currently occupies about half of its historical range.

The FWS said it is working with partner agencies, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department, to develop protections for the fish species and prevent further declines.

The proposed listing is currently in a 60-day comment period, and public input on the proposed listing will be accepted through December 7. To comment, you can visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal and reference Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2015–0148.

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